In a recent case, the HCCC filed a complaint that a cardiologist practising in Queensland with a history of offences failed to follow chaperone conditions on his registration.
Background on the chaperone conditions
The court documents indicate that the cardiologist had previous accusations of sexual assault against his former receptionist in 2013 and 2014. The Health Ombudsman in Queensland imposed conditions on the practitioner's registration after these events which required him to have a chaperone when assisting female patients.
In 2015, investigations conducted by the Health Ombudsman revealed that there were inconsistencies between the practitioner's reports and Medicare records and that his actions showed non-compliance with the initial chaperone conditions on his registration. The Health Ombudsman then got the HCCC involved in the investigation.
It was after this event that the more detailed chaperone conditions were put into place as a reprimand for the practitioner's failure to follow the initial conditions.
The HCCC complaint
The HCCC filed a complaint that the practitioner had violated the chaperone condition placed on his registration by the Health Ombudsman. The practitioner did not have a chaperone present when giving consultations to female patients between the periods of November 2014 and March 2015. The chaperone log the practitioner maintained during that time did not include a necessary chaperone's signature on a number of occasions.
Another complaint from the HCCC was that the practitioner made false assertions to the Health Ombudsman in 2014 based on the findings mentioned above.
The last complaint asserts that, because of the details in the previous two complaints, the cardiologist is guilty of professional misconduct, as defined under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
The tribunal's decision
The complaints from the HCCC against the cardiologist were brought before the Civil and Administrative Tribunal in New South Wales in 2018.
The tribunal did not find adequate evidence that the practitioner failed to comply with the conditions of his registration, though he did fail on a number of occasions to obtain the chaperone signatures. It was stated that the practitioner had acknowledged the errors he made and accepted responsibility for them.
His conduct was not found serious enough by the tribunal to justify suspension or cancellation of his registration. The practitioner was reprimanded for his errors and ordered to pay the HCCC's costs.
If you have been a victim of medical negligence, our experienced lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can offer you a free consultation and assistance. Get in touch with our team today.